Last month, I had the opportunity to visit the central kitchen for a local bakery called Firehook Bakery. They have several locations in the DC area, and one of those locations happens to be their central bakery in Chantilly, VA, right around the corner from my office.
For a while now, I’ve been thinking about a blog series highlighting local food businesses, and Firehook seemed like a logical place to start. I stop there several times a month for their Morning Glory Muffin (similar to this Earthbound Farm recipe) and a coffee. The muffin is so delicious…carrots, raisins, coconut, etc. and the coffee is always a perfect strength. I’d stop there more often if the Morning Glory was less fattening. It’s a lovely treat every few weeks, though, that’s for sure.
Pierre was my guide for the morning, and he gave me great information about Firehook and its products. He took me to the areas where they mix the dough, and proof the dough, and create the delectable pastries, and bake all the goodies, and all the other stuff that goes into running a bakery. When we walked into the back, I immediately smelled the warm yeast and just wanted to curl up in a corner with a cup of coffee and just watch the magic happen.
After we toured the behind-the-scenes fun, it was time to taste some breads. My favorite part, of course! Here’s the cutting board when we started our tasting:
And here it is after the madness was over (and this is only a portion…Pierre had already thrown out a couple of our tasting loaves):
I don’t think there was one type of bread we DIDN’T try. We sampled: yeast baguette, sourdough baguette, pan levain, black olive bread, multigrain, pumpkin, sweet potato bread (was very similar to challah), cinnamon raisin, chili cheese bread (my husband would love this one), cheese bread (with pecorino and romano…delicious), challah, brioche (I want to go back and get some of that for French toast), semolina sesame, and a few different cookies and brownies. The cookies were stale, but I’ll forgive them for that because the bread was magical enough to make up for it.
My favorite thing we tasted was the Pumpkin Bread. It’s not a quick bread like zucchini bread or other sweet “bread” that’s really more like a cake. It’s an actual bread made with yeast, and it’s got a bit of sweetness, and a fantastic crunch on the outside due to the pumpkin seeds.
Isn’t it gorgeous? I could have eaten the whole loaf in one sitting, it was that good.
Look at that variety of breads. You can’t imagine how good it smelled.
Some lovely baguettes waiting for their new homes. I love a good bread with seeds on the outside. Makes it so much more beautiful and gives it such a nice texture.
And now that you’re good and hungry, check out a Firehook location near you. And if you don’t live in the DC area, go find a local bakery and show them some love by giving them your business.
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